Just, yet, still, already
These words are often used with the present perfect tense although yet, still and already can all be used with other tenses.
‘Just’ is usually used only with the present perfect tense and it means ‘a short time ago’.
I’ve just seen Susan coming out of the cinema.
Mike’s just called. Can you ring him back please?
Have you just taken my pen? Where has it gone?
In the present perfect, ‘just’ comes between the auxiliary verb (‘have’) and the past participle.
Just is a common adverb in English, especially in speaking. It has different meanings.
Just meaning ‘simply’ or ‘absolutely’
We can use just meaning ‘simply’ or ‘absolutely’ to add emphasis to a statement:
It’s just not right.
Our holiday was just perfect.
Just meaning ‘exactly’
You look just like your sister.
Can you put your signature just here?
Just meaning ‘only’
His first pay cheque was just fifty pounds.
[in a clothes shop]
Can I help you?
No, it’s all right, thanks. I’m just looking.
Just and expressions of time
Just can mean ‘recently’ or ‘a very short time before or after speaking’:
Where’s my phone? I had it just now.
Could you wait for me? I’m just going to the shop.
We often use the present perfect or past perfect with this meaning of just when we refer to a short time before the moment of speaking:
I’ve just decided to sell my apartment.
I’m on my way to the station. Their train has just arrived.
Just for emphasis
We also use just to emphasise an imperative:
Just shut the door quickly or we’re going to be late.
Just to soften expressions
We use just in speaking to soften what we say, especially in requests:
Could you just open the window?
I was just wondering if I could speak to you about Anna?
‘Yet’ is used to talk about something which is expected to happen. It means ‘at any time up to now’. It is used in questions and negatives.
Have you finished your homework yet? The speaker expects that the homework will be finished.
I haven’t finished it yet. I’ll do it after dinner.
‘Yet’ usually comes at the end of the sentence.
‘Still’ is used to talk about something that hasn’t finished – especially when we expected it to finish earlier.
I’ve been waiting for over an hour and the bus still hasn’t come.
You promised to give me that report yesterday and you still haven’t finished it.
‘Still’ usually comes in ‘mid-position’
Still is often used with other tenses as well as the present perfect.
I’ve still got all those letters you sent me.
Are you still working in the bookshop?
‘Already’ is used to say that something has happened early – or earlier than it might have happened.
I’ve already spent my salary and it’s two weeks before pay day.
The train’s already left! What are we going to do?
‘Already’ usually comes in mid-position.
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